The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton Klein and Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:
The left-wing press (e.g., Haaretz) tried to transform ZOA’s simple request to Stand With Us (SWU) to correct a harmful SWU error, into an attack on SWU. The left-wing press even exaggerated ZOA’s request into a “rumble on the right.” ZOA wishes to make it crystal clear that ZOA did NOT attack StandWithUs as an organization, or any of SWU’s leaders or personnel. ZOA did not attack our fellow Jews at SWU, many of whom are our personal friends.
Unfortunately, perhaps due to the left-wing press, SWU has fallen into the trap of also wrongly transforming ZOA’s request for correction of SWU’s harmful error into a personal attack on SWU. It is disappointing and mystifying that SWU then doubled down, and now has tripled down on its error – using misleading citations.
ZOA simply urged StandWithUs to correct its false statement that the Israeli government and population supports and does not oppose the creation of a Palestinian-Arab state. SWU’s inaccurate statement is particularly harmful in light of Iran’s malign activities at Israel’s doorstep; a Palestinian state would become another Iranian proxy terrorist state likely led by Hamas leaders.
ZOA documented the most recent Israeli officials’ statements (2017-2018) and Israeli polling data – which all overwhelmingly oppose a Palestinian-Arab state. PM Netanyahu stated in the NY Times in March 2018 that a Palestinian state “doesn’t work . . . When we leave land terror organizations take over. Immediately.” Israeli ministers (Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan) stated in February 2017: “I think all members of the security cabinet, and foremost the prime minister, oppose a Palestinian state.” The ruling Likud party formally voted to oppose a Palestinian Arab state in July 2017).
In contrast, StandWithUs misleadingly cited a single poll (which actually showed that more Israelis oppose a Palestinian state than favor one), and older statements (2011-2015) that are no longer valid. For example if anyone stated it was now US policy to support the Iran Deal, that would be false; it was true several years ago, but US policy has now changed, just as the Israeli policy has now changed to opposing a Palestinian Arab State; And if anyone stated that U.S. policy now is to support Obamacare, that would be false; it was true several years ago, but the U.S. government policy has changed, just as the Israeli policy has changed to now opposing a Palestinian Arab State. ZOA moreover demonstrated that even the older policy statements – made under duress from the Obama administration – were highly conditional – and were not an out-and-out endorsement of a Palestinian state.
In sum, StandWithUs’ statements on this topic are erroneous, and need to be immediately corrected.
In its new “tripling-down” statement, SWU has now misleadingly cited the following March 7, 2018 statement by Netanyahu: “I think most Israelis would favor a solution where we could separate from the Palestinians. I don’t want the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and I don’t want them as subjects of Israel. So I want a solution where they have all the powers to govern themselves, but none of the powers that would threaten us.” Notably, this statement does NOT call for a Palestinian state. It merely speaks of Palestinian governance and separation, and Israeli control. This is what exists now, with the Palestinian Authority, or another entity that is less than a state. Netanyahu’s statement was NOT a statement calling for a Palestinian-Arab (terror) state.
StandWithUs also inaccurately and misleadingly cites the recent joint poll by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (at Tel Aviv Univ.) and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah (PCPSR), funded by anti-Israel entities including the European Union. That poll actually showed that more Israelis OPPOSE a Palestinian state (48%) than favor one (43%). Yet StandWithUs wrongly claims this poll showed Israelis support a Palestinian State!
Further, SWU’s claim that a Palestinian state is the “preferred alternative” of 43% in that poll is simply “lying with statistics” – because only 4 limited unpopular alternatives were provided. (See ZOA’s previous discussion of this.)
Moreover, as ZOA previously pointed out, the reliable Maagar Mochot Interdisciplinary Research Institute poll show that Israelis oppose a Palestinian state by a margin of 10 to 1. StandWithUs simply chose to ignore this poll even though we cited it several times.
It is rather bizarre that SWU’s posting forcefully claims that it does not take a position on any Israeli policies including matters regarding a Palestinian state – at the same time that SWU continues to misstate Israel’s position.
Once again, ZOA simply urged, and continues to urge SWU to correct a harmful error. ZOA is not personally attacking SWU. ZOA and SWU have often worked cooperatively on campus issues, and we look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.